How can blink dogs be sorcerers?


Rules Questions

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Paizo Employee Creative Director

3 people marked this as FAQ candidate. 2 people marked this as a favorite.

If nagas can be sorcerers... I have no concerns or worries about blink dogs doing the same. Material components are the only things that are really a concern for handless spellcasters, and sorcerers get Eschew Materials for free.

For humanoids, somatic components include hand gestures. For things with other shaped bodies, somatic components include whatever gestures their body naturally makes, be that paw or leg movements, tail wagging, squirming bodies, or whatever.


James Jacobs wrote:

If nagas can be sorcerers... I have no concerns or worries about blink dogs doing the same. Material components are the only things that are really a concern for handless spellcasters, and sorcerers get Eschew Materials for free.

For humanoids, somatic components include hand gestures. For things with other shaped bodies, somatic components include whatever gestures their body naturally makes, be that paw or leg movements, tail wagging, squirming bodies, or whatever.

Aww... I'm kind of disappointed that a paizo official had to come here and spell this out. People should have to think for themselves. Maybe you are just kinder than I :)


I have zero problem with anything thinking that this issue is resolved. I agree, I think the default position is that you needs hands if you are a member of one of the default assumed races, which are all humanoid.

I also have zero problem with someone asking a question. If the question is too steeped in esoteric rules for you, it may not be a thread for you to participate in. At the very least, a simple "I don't think there needs to be a ruling on this or that X covers this."

However, I'm not sure I'm happy with this concept of declaring someone fair game for ridicule because they consistently ask questions that someone else wouldn't ask. I can understand being upset with someone that is abusive or mean, but not someone that just wonders things that might not bother someone else.


Ravindork- the core rule book is intended for humandoid pc's, and for monsters only were the GM can apply them to it. I know you've heard this over and over so im not gona give a long speel on it.

PER RAW- there are no rules that support how a blinkdog can cast spells as a sorcerer following RAW from the core book. however RAW states in the bestiary 2 that blink dogs of sages often take sorcerer levels. It doesn't elaborate on how or what requirements they must meet so there are NONE. So per RAW it's a racial trait that blink dogs can cast spells as a sorcerer without special limitations or requirements. They simple CAN cast- no feats or other abilities needed. Thats RAW (rules as WRITTEN).

I do agree however that a small section should have been included in the bestiary explaining nonhuman monster spellcasters. OR in the "adding class levels to monsters", cause you know that's what that section is all about.Unless adding class levels is not suppose to be core and hence not society allowed? A lot of GM's like to tailor monsters but also like to have rules (guidelines)in place to explain how to achieves this and explain it. Though special monsters are COOL i'd still like a system better than "cause the GM says says" when the players crap there pants and ask "how THE *%#@ can this hellhound cast fireball on us its not possible!!!".


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Robert Carter 58 wrote:
Why should they clarify? Is this such a big issue that you can't come up with a solution for yourself? Isn't this what this comes down to? Should the game designers come up with rules for every little thing... and do we the players really want them to (I do not, otherwise, why don't I just play Dangerous Journeys with that rules nightmare).

They should clarify it because there is an inconsistency in their rules set that may affect all spellcasting monsters. I don't know if it's a deliberate change that didn't get explained clearly enough, or if it's an error coming out of the edition changeover. A GM ruling is a good fix temporarily, but how are GMs to run it in a Pathfinder Society game?

The argument that their time is too valuable for this thread is out the window. If they can come in to make jokes they can surely make a clarification.

EDIT: Looks like I was ninja'd by a developer.

I guess it is a deliberate change from v3.5. Things get REAL easy now. :D

houstonderek wrote:
No, I actually didn't think he had a sense of humor. Seriously.

:(

Contributor

Removed a post. Keep it civil.


Altough I disagree with Ravingdork, I think he got a point and I support eveyone that raises against the powerful Blink Dogs Lobby.


Gorbacz wrote:


If the only thing that stands between Blink Dogs and Sorcereous Goodness is the fact that the rules are vague on the topic whether wagging a tail does count as a Somatic component, I'd really just roll along and let the doggies have it.

+1, a thousand times so really I guess it is +1000

I can't really give RD a hard time though because I was just as bad at one point.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
For humanoids, somatic components include hand gestures. For things with other shaped bodies, somatic components include whatever gestures their body naturally makes, be that paw or leg movements, tail wagging, squirming bodies, or whatever.

So if my sorcerer polymorphs into a blink dog, I cannot cast spells because I am still humanoid?

wraithstrike wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:


If the only thing that stands between Blink Dogs and Sorcereous Goodness is the fact that the rules are vague on the topic whether wagging a tail does count as a Somatic component, I'd really just roll along and let the doggies have it.

+1, a thousand times so really I guess it is +1000

I can't really give RD a hard time though because I was just as bad at one point.

We'd most likely make a ruling and not give it a second thought in our groups as well. That doesn't change the fact that we'd like to see what the official stance is though.

Also, you make these forums sound like a rehab clinic for rules lawyers. :P


Ravingdork wrote:
Robert Carter 58 wrote:
Why should they clarify? Is this such a big issue that you can't come up with a solution for yourself? Isn't this what this comes down to? Should the game designers come up with rules for every little thing... and do we the players really want them to (I do not, otherwise, why don't I just play Dangerous Journeys with that rules nightmare).

They should clarify it because there is an inconsistency in their rules set that may affect all spellcasting monsters. I don't know if it's a deliberate change that didn't get explained clearly enough, or if it's an error coming out of the edition changeover. A GM ruling is a good fix temporarily, but how are GMs to run it in a Pathfinder Society game?

The argument that their time is too valuable for this thread is out the window. If they can come in to make jokes they can surely make a clarification.

EDIT: Looks like I was ninja'd by a developer.

I guess it is a deliberate change from v3.5. Things get REAL easy now. :D

houstonderek wrote:
No, I actually didn't think he had a sense of humor. Seriously.
:(

My argument isn't that the designers time is too valuable, my argument is that individuals- individual human beings- should think and choose for themselves, whether it be to how to tie their shoes, what shows to watch on television, who to have sex with, what kind of cola to drink, and yes, whether or not blink dogs can be sorcerers (and if so, how). Be an individual, man. Think for yourself, don't rely on the powers that be.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Liz Courts wrote:
Removed a post. Keep it civil.

What's a Gninja?


Ravingdork wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
For humanoids, somatic components include hand gestures. For things with other shaped bodies, somatic components include whatever gestures their body naturally makes, be that paw or leg movements, tail wagging, squirming bodies, or whatever.
So if my sorcerer polymorphs into a blink dog, I cannot cast spells because I am still humanoid?

If you polymorph usually it is clear that you have to use Transmutation rules, which state what racial features you get (a limited ammount) and what forms allow you to cast spells, you don't get all the racial features.

The only problem may be abilities that allow you to polymorph but don't follow the Transmutation rules (I don't know if there's any), or abilities that allow you to cast spells in certain (but vague) circumstances.


Ravingdork wrote:
Liz Courts wrote:
Removed a post. Keep it civil.
What's a Gninja?

Gnome Ninja


Ravingdork wrote:
So if my sorcerer polymorphs into a blink dog, I cannot cast spells because I am still humanoid?

Well, yeah, since you learned to cast spells with a humanoid body. I suppose if you did a lot of time in a polymorphed form you might be able to work around it (this is probably feat fodder for Ultimate Magic, BTW...). A Blink Dog sorcerer polymorphed into human form would suffer the same issues...he doesn't know how to cast spells with hands.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Ravingdork wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
For humanoids, somatic components include hand gestures. For things with other shaped bodies, somatic components include whatever gestures their body naturally makes, be that paw or leg movements, tail wagging, squirming bodies, or whatever.
So if my sorcerer polymorphs into a blink dog, I cannot cast spells because I am still humanoid?ake these forums sound like a rehab clinic for rules lawyers. :P

That's the exact type of question a GM is great for to provide an answer, to be honest. Enabling GMs to make their own calls ENHANCES and STRENGTHENS the game, in my opinion. Because we will NEVER be able to provide specific rules for every single possibility that pops up in game, unless we so oversimplify the game that it turns into something none of us want to play.

My take: Unless you're a blink dog or have the knowledge about how to cast spells in a body SUPER DIFFERENT than your own, no, you wouldn't be able to cast spells in a non-humanoid form. The Natural Spell feat grants you this type of knowledge, of course.

The reverse would hold true as well; a blink dog sorcerer who polymorphs into a human wouldn't be familiar with his new body and wouldn't be able to make somatic components either.

But in the end, it's the GM's call. This isn't evasive or trying to cheat or cop out; enabling and allowing GM calls to be a part of the game helps not only to keep things going smoothly in play, but it involves the GM in the way the game intends.


Ravingdork wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
For humanoids, somatic components include hand gestures. For things with other shaped bodies, somatic components include whatever gestures their body naturally makes, be that paw or leg movements, tail wagging, squirming bodies, or whatever.

So if my sorcerer polymorphs into a blink dog, I cannot cast spells because I am still humanoid?

Correct. That is covered in the polymorph rules you quoted a while back.

Contributor

Removed some more posts.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Ravingdork wrote:
cappadocius wrote:
There's not a doggone rule anywhere in the game that prevents a blink dog from being a sorcerer.

No. No there isn't.

However, there is a rule saying they need hands to be able to cast spells with somatic components.

Caineach wrote:

For the price of a single feat, any druid can learn to cast spells while looking like a dog, substituting various natural noises and gestures for the verbal and somatic components of the spell.

Why shouldn't an intelligent animal who is used to their natural form be able to do the same?

All it takes is silent spell.

This feat show there are other things to do other than using fingers. Humanoids are not the only spell casters and druids learn this through training on how to do it without fingers and humanoid speech.

Natural Spell

You can cast spells even while in a form that cannot normally cast spells.

Prerequisites: Wis 13, wild shape class feature.

Benefit: You can complete the verbal and somatic components of spells while using wild shape. You substitute various noises and gestures for the normal verbal and somatic components of a spell.

You can also use any material components or focuses you possess, even if such items are melded within your current form. This feat does not permit the use of magic items while you are in a form that could not ordinarily use them, and you do not gain the ability to speak while using wild shape.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Thanks James! I appreciate the input!

One last question: How does Natural Spell help a polymorphing creature if they are not a druid with wildshape? The specific requirements of the feat make it exclusively geared towards druids. Was it the intent that it could be used by anyone who changes shape and casts spells?

If so perhaps it should be errata'd, or a similar feat added to Ultimate Magic coming out soon (which was a great idea by the way, Helic).

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Ravingdork wrote:

Thanks James! I appreciate the input!

One last question: How does Natural Spell help a polymorphing creature if they are not a druid with wildshape? The specific requirements of the feat make it very specifically geared towards druids. Was it the intent that it could be used by anyone who changes shape and casts spells? If so perhaps it should be errata'd or a similar feat added to Ultimate Magic coming out soon.

Natural Spell, which requires wild shape as a prerequisite, isn't all that helpful for characters who aren't able to fulfill that prerequisite unless the GM is cool with allowing ability to cast polymorph or whatever stand in for that prerequisite. The intent of Natural Spell IS to make it a druid feat, since druids rely more on shapechanging powers than ANY other class. But a variant of the feat that is built for other classes is a fine house rule. It doesn't need errata, but a new feat that works similarly but for casters of polymorph might be cool.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:

Thanks James! I appreciate the input!

One last question: How does Natural Spell help a polymorphing creature if they are not a druid with wildshape? The specific requirements of the feat make it very specifically geared towards druids. Was it the intent that it could be used by anyone who changes shape and casts spells? If so perhaps it should be errata'd or a similar feat added to Ultimate Magic coming out soon.

Natural Spell, which requires wild shape as a prerequisite, isn't all that helpful for characters who aren't able to fulfill that prerequisite unless the GM is cool with allowing ability to cast polymorph or whatever stand in for that prerequisite. The intent of Natural Spell IS to make it a druid feat, since druids rely more on shapechanging powers than ANY other class. But a variant of the feat that is built for other classes is a fine house rule. It doesn't need errata, but a new feat that works similarly but for casters of polymorph might be cool.

That would be VERY cool! *wink wink*

I now declare this thread concluded. :D


So because James came here and made the precise same call that I did two-three pages ago, suddenly things are better?

(Blink dog sorcerer uses gestures for somatic component, check. Human polymorphed to a blink dog can't use those gestures without Natural Spell, check. Blink dog polymorphed to human likewise needs help, check. All there.)

This is why I have an issue, and it addresses what KnightErrant said above.

There isn't a problem with someone making a call in their game. There isn't a problem with someone wanting to clarify the rules for themselves, and asking questions (even if those questions seem 'dumb' to others, if you don't know, there's only one way to find out.) about that.

But demanding that the developers clarify these tiny things, that seems ridiculous to me. Paizo's awesome that their designers hang out in the forums and are into the game in a way that they don't mind clearing these things up, but that shouldn't create an expectation for such.

And I don't want to seem like I'm coming down on RavingDork, just the mindset that we need precise and overdetailed clarification on every rule. It seems that if a sole individual (or so) are the only ones who are having difficulty interpreting something, the problem lies with their powers of interpretation, and they should accept some help with that. If a significant minority or majority has trouble interpreting (or has no trouble, but all come to different conclusions), then perhaps some errata is in order.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I never demanded anything. I'm not this monster that many of you make me out to be.

And yes, things ARE better now. I now fully understand the designer's intent behind the change in the rules.

Having other people say "it most likely works this way" doesn't really help me.


There are many posters here that know the game very well. That is why I don't think we need a developer for every issue.
RD you did not demand a developer come down buy you did say

" A game designer hasn't popped in to clarify the rule yet."

That makes me believe nothing anyone else could have said would have mattered. A lot of us did not say "most likely works". James basically threw the rule of cool out there and you accepted it from him, and not from us.

I do understand James having more weight, but a designer making an exception to the rule should need clarification because it is not coded in a book is the point we were trying to make. Not everything is going to be coded.

PS:I am not upset. Remember my earlier post.

edit:I was trying to say I am not trying to give you a hard time.


a lot of players actually had some good explanations/interpretations/ideas that i agree with and make some sense. Here's a good list to use for monster spellcaster using some ideas posted already and throwing in my own as some campaign homebrew.

1-sorcerers are inherently magical in nature similar to dragons, though they progress through a class instead of HD. They are inherently magical in natural because of what they are, not by how they learn.

2-Sorcerers should be able to cast spells NO MATTER what race they are. Since there magical in nature they learn to cast spells in whatever form is there natural form. In the case of polymorph spells the new form should have similar features of it's original form in order to cast spells, based on GM interpretation. Example, a GM could rule that a blink dog could cast spells as a weasel, badger, or possum, based on they all have paws, a tail, and a single bite attack. Other GM's may rule that a blink dog could cast spells as any quadruped with a tail, an animal, or any creature with a single bite attack etc. Since most PC's are humanoids it's solely up to the GM how he handles his monsters.

3-Nonhumanoid Monsters do not follow the core rulebook for spell components as they are non humanoid pc's. Non humanoid monster spell casters use an appendage if they have one or, there body if they lack any appendages. They can use any known language as a verbal component and are not required to speak in a loud voice, there voice still needs to be clear and unhindered.

4-There may be monsters that cannot speak that the GM may want to make spellcasters. Great care should be taken when allowing such monsters to be spellcasters. There spells would not require verbal components, would be cast silently, and would be immune to silence. The CR of a monster should be adjusted to account for this.

5- Non humanoid divine spellcasters do not require a holy symbol or divine focus to cast there divine spells. Non humanoid monstrous divine casters however are almost always dedicated to a deity and not an ideal or cause.

6-while some may feel these rules give non humanoid monsters an edge in there caster class, keep in mind that monsters are limited in what items magical or not they can use. ANd many class features they can't even make use of!

here's a monster feat for your homebrew. They can also be used for pc's with care like all monster feats if they meet the prequisite.

Monstrous spellcaster:(Prerequisites: possess a nonhumanoid form) - You are able to cast spells in your natural form with somatic components. You can use your paws, claws, wings, tail, body, or other body parts to make somatic gestures. If you posses the Shapechanger Subtype you may use this feat in any of the forms granted by the shapechanger subtype. This feat does not grant you the ability to cast spells with a somatic component if an effect is preventing you from doing so. Such as while bound, tied, held, pinned, or any other means, unless you could normally attempt to do so according to the rules of each effect.

*A creature may substituted a weapon or armor proficiency from there spellcasting class in favor of this feat. Such as simple weapons, light armor, shield proficiency etc.


Howie23 wrote:
cappadocius wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:


However, there is a rule saying they need hands to be able to cast spells with somatic components.
There is not.

You sure about that?

"You must have at least one hand free to provide a somatic component." (p. 213)

This is the rule that is contention. In 3.5, creatures without hands were given explicit exception in the SRD. That exception was removed for PF.

As a matter of strict rules interpretation, 'dork has a point. As a matter of playing the game, I think most are fine just making it work as needed in their own game.

My question would be, who is the GM?

When I run a game, I get very annoyed at players who tell me I can't have what I just described the world as having. If I say you've encountered a succubus paladin, then you've encountered a succubus paladin. If I say this cobra has seven levels of Wizard, then this cobra has seven levels of Wizard.

If the OP is the GM, he is free to rule that blink dogs must take the Still Spell feat or the Natural Spell feat or are limited in spells they can cast. If the OP is not the GM, then the GM decides.

Paizo Employee Managing Developer

Brother Elias wrote:


Ninety-nine dreams I have had
And every one a lawful flumph
It's all over, and I'm standing pretty
In the dust by Absalom city
I could find a souvenir
To take back to the lodge here
Here it is, a red-skin flumph
I think of you and let it go

Awesome!

(It's even better sung to the 7Seconds cover.)

Paizo Employee Managing Developer

Man, I travel for a couple of days and miss all the action. Glad this is settled.


Utgardloki wrote:
When I run a game, I get very annoyed at players who tell me I can't have what I just described the world as having. If I say you've encountered a succubus paladin, then you've encountered a succubus paladin. If I say this cobra has seven levels of Wizard, then this cobra has seven levels of Wizard.

+1.

And the awakened battle emu sorcerer agrees as well.

Dark Archive

Adam Daigle wrote:
Brother Elias wrote:


Ninety-nine dreams I have had
And every one a lawful flumph
It's all over, and I'm standing pretty
In the dust by Absalom city
I could find a souvenir
To take back to the lodge here
Here it is, a red-skin flumph
I think of you and let it go

Awesome!

(It's even better sung to the 7Seconds cover.)

I was thinking the homer simpson version...

http://www.mojvideo.com/video-homer-simpsons-99-luftballons/f73583a680da7f2 0ef5e


Ravingdork wrote:
I never demanded anything. I'm not this monster that many of you make me out to be.

"I would be most grateful if you all would FAQ the OP so we could get some developer input."

"That's a very real problem if it wasn't the intent of the game designers."

"I'd like a more serious answer to the below question if you don't mind."

"It persists primarily for two reasons:
1) People making fun of my stance only makes me more stubborn.
2) A game designer hasn't popped in to clarify the rule yet."

This gives off a general impression that the only reason you even posted this thread was to obtain designer attention and satisfaction. I don't feel that makes you a monster (I said I don't want you to feel I'm coming down on you here), but I do feel that it displays some level of entitlement. I understand you are a by the rules and literal minded person, but there has to be some point between making up the rule all on your own and getting a designer stamp of approval that can leave you happy.

Quote:
Having other people say "it most likely works this way" doesn't really help me.

It seems to have done so in this situation. I'm fairly certain James Jacobs is considered 'other people'.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ravingdork wrote:


They should clarify it because there is an inconsistency in their rules set that may affect all spellcasting monsters.

*** STAND BY FOR MEDIA BREAK ****

Handless Blink Dog Sorcerers feared to undermine all creation! Experts are stumped! Sages call for opposable thumb requirment to be added to Guild admissions!

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Are there folks on these boards who know the game better than me? And are some of those folks not even Paizo employees? Absolutely.

I try to do my best to explain rules and help out, but that should NOT lessen the value of advice other folks post here. The game is NOT a computer program, after all, and the only person whose rulings really matter in any game at all is the GM of that game. If a GM comes here looking for advice, and if that GM prefers to trust advice from a Paizo employee, that's fine (although the GM should NOT come here expecting an answer immediately or even EVER from a Paizo employee; we try to answer questions here relatively frequently, but we can't answer everything—you all outnumber us way too much).

If a PLAYER comes here looking for advice, then I'm not sure what to say. Using this advice as evidence to fight against a GM ruling is, I suppose, one use for such advice, but that's the type of behavior that would get players the stink-eye from me in games I run. Looking for advice to simply understand the game better, though; that's fine and cool.

In the end, I suppose that the perception that a Paizo employee is more trustworthy than other posters is a reason (although often a falsely appearing one—we make mistakes as well!) folks might not take exact same rulings and rules interpretations from non-employees as seriously. It's just human nature; try not to get annoyed by it.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

And on James's note, I'm going to lock this thread, as it is unlikely any new ground is going to be covered in a Rules question after 5 pages.

If there is still a burning need to discuss Blink Dog Sorcery, please create a new thread in General or Homebrew.

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